2012 Local Jefferson Award Winner Nominated for National Award - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

2012 Local Jefferson Award Winner Nominated for National Award

Updated: Sep 11, 2012 07:49 AM
Cheryl Blackman (Photo: WBOC) Cheryl Blackman (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- 2012 local Jefferson Award winner Cheryl Blackman has been chosen as WBOC's nominee for a national-level Jefferson Award. Blackman, along with 15 other local Jefferson Award winners, was honored at an awards ceremony held Tuesday evening, April 10, at the WBOC NewsPlex in Salisbury.

Blackman was recognized for her outstanding volunteer service to the Rehoboth Beach, Del., and surrounding community, including raising thousands of dollars for numerous charitable and nonprofit organizations. Particularly noteworthy is that Blackman has given so much of her time and effort to help others while battling breast cancer. 

Over the years, Blackman has raised money for the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, which helps fund the Halloween Sea Witch Festival, one of the area's most popular annual events. In addition, Blackman has raised thousands of dollars for the Rehoboth Beach Fire Hall, the Village Improvement Association, Rehoboth Main Street, Beebe Hospital and children sports leagues. Most recently Blackman has single-handedly raised more than $100,000 for KINfolk, a non-profit organization based out of Wilmington, Del., that is dedicated to providing computers to hospitalized and homebound children across the nation.

Chris Cordey, an area business owner and Blackman's nephew who nominated her for a Jefferson Award, said his aunt is so committed to KINfolk's cause that she spends every free moment traveling around Rehoboth Beach selling raffle tickets in order to raise money for the organization. Cordrey noted that Blackman's selflessness and commitment to helping others nearly cost her her life. Cordrey said that his aunt began to notice a lump forming in her breast but did not share this information with her mother because she feared it would limit her ability to raise money for the community. But after several months, the pain became so unbearable that Blackman was forced to share the information and was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few days later.

Blackman immediately underwent surgery and is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Although many people would take this time to focus on themselves, she saw this as an opportunity to make other patients in the cancer center happy. Despite undergoing often painful treatment for cancer, it was only a matter of time that Blackman was back to selling raffle tickets for KINfolk.

During the holidays, Blackman can be spotted dressing as up as an elf at Burton Village, a low income area in Rehoboth Beach, or at local nursing homes and hospital where she makes balloon animals for patients.

Not even cancer can stop this extraordinary woman from pursuing her passion to helping others.

"Cheryl's indescribable passion for helping others show how a single individual can make such a large impact in the lives of so many others," Cordrey wrote in his nomination letter.

Three judges selected Blackman out of the worthwhile list of 16 local winners that also included: Mark Engberg, Al Kessler, Okemah Strictland, Wayne Merritt, Monica Hall, Walter Koopman, Pastor Chuck Reynolds, Helen Cherry, Jody Caudell, Cassandra Warford, Pam Eskridge, Amystique Harris-Church, Joe and Diane Shoup, Clare Fonte, and Tony Etze.

The judges who served on the nominating committee included Gage Thomas, a businessman who also serves as a member of the Dorchester County Commissioners; Beverely Thompson, a 2009 Jefferson Award winner, and John Hollis, director of community relations fir Nemours Health and Prevention Services.

Blackman is now a nominee for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Local Community. Nominees from around the country will travel to Washington, D.C. in June for the national ceremony. Five nominees will be selected as Onassis Award winners.

The Jefferson Awards for Public Service are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America.

The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service.

WBOC TV is proud to be a local partner of the Jefferson Awards. The awards are given annually to volunteers on Delmarva who provide extraordinary public service.

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